Making it my business: cohabitation complications

The whens and whys. And what ifs. And what abouts. Oh, it’s complicated. Just read it.

Before we move on to this week’s questions, remember that you, too, can be showered with wisdom via the Internet. Send questions to

Let’s get it on. Or started…

Dear Valerie,

I have a problem. I’ve finally found the one for me, he’s perfect, smart, and my total match. We’ve been taking things slowly and it’s turning into something wonderful. We recently discussed co-habitation, and we are both very gung-ho about it. The problem is his roommate, who is unemployed, unmotivated, and very self-centered. My sweetie wants him to move out, but can’t confront the situation, since they have been friends since they were knee-high to a grasshopper. I’m keeping my mouth shut because I want to be supporting, and caring of his feelings, but I really want to move the roommate right along (or out!) Any advice on how to gently approach the situation so my honey and I can start sharing the same space?

In Love But Over the BFF

First, congratulations on finding a great guy! It’s always lovely when that happens. Now on to your question.

The way I see it, you have two options…

Option 1, your boyfriend sits his roommate down and lets him know that the two of you are getting serious and you’d like to try living together. And in your current situation, it would make more sense for you to move into the apartment and for the best friend to move out. If you have a good relationship with the best friend, he might be a little miffed about having to find a new place to live, but hopefully he’ll be happy for you. If you guys don’t get along, you need to prepare yourself for a little tension – it’s kind of inevitable but not necessarily destructive.

Option 2, you and your boyfriend find your own place together, leaving the best friend to deal with the current apartment. This might be better for everyone as it will let you and your guy have a fresh start and isn’t putting the best friend out on the street.

But, a word of caution: however you end up dealing with the situation, you do not at all want it to seem like you are the one orchestrating the eviction of your boyfriend’s roommate. Ultimately, your boyfriend is the one who will need to have the conversation in an effort to preserve his friendship. It’s key that when he does speak to his roommate, he makes it about wanting to take the next step with you, not just ending things with his friend.

Dear Valerie,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about three years. Both of us are currently unhappy with our living situations (I live with a friend from college; he lives with his brother) and our leases will be up at the end of the summer. We’ve been talking about living together and it seems like the timing is right. What do you think?

Looks Good On Paper Girl

I gave you that name, dear reader, because that’s exactly what this situation seems to be. Just because the numbers seem to add up doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for you to make the commitment of moving in with someone.

Regardless of the fact that moving in with someone isn’t the same as marrying them, you are still making a decision that will intertwine your lives even further. It is a major upping of the ante as you will be jointly responsible for bills (even if it is just rent), household responsibilities, basically the mess of daily life. There will be a shift in dynamics that you should not enter into lightly.

That’s not to say that you’re not ready, LGOPG. It just seems that if you were sure, you wouldn’t need to ask. To me, the decision to live with someone should come with little hedging or waffling back and forth – not necessarily an absence of nervousness, but with a definite certainty that you want this.

Here’s what I suggest. You and your boyfriend need to have some serious LBH time (that’s Let’s Be Honest, for those of you that aren’t lame). Talk about why you think you should move in together. If it seems to be more about numbers than the desire to have a life together, you might want to consider making other arrangements. After all, it’s hard to go back from living together and giving yourselves another year to just date is another year to be sure of your commitment to each other.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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